James Yorkston – The Cellardyke Recording And Wassailing Society (C/R/A/W/S)  2
Photo by Steve Gullick

James Yorkston – The Cellardyke Recording And Wassailing Society (C/R/A/W/S)


Photo by Steve Gullick
Photo by Steve Gullick

Produced by Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, with the fine vocals of some wonderful Scottish folk talent namely Johnny Lynch (also known as The Pictish Trail) and KT Tunstall, James Yorkston is set to release another beautifully crafted album under the Domino umbrella, The Cellardyke Recording and Wassailing Society. Fans will beanxiously anticipating release on 18th August, as it yet agains reflects the lyrical poet that is Mr Yorkston, with a plethora of magically delicate talent that emphasises his ability to create such auditory pleasure.

After a couple of years since his last release, I Was A Cat From A Book, it is fantastic to hear of this release, typically with a broad and brilliant selection of players on this his eighth studio album, some hailing from friends from what once was The Fence Collective, and others collaborators on previous projects, and all produced by the acclaimed Taylor. A formula such as this should see a recording project that will charm and sweeten the ears of any listener, with his poetic nostalgic, reflective and anecdotal lyrics.

Beginning with Fellow Man, which poignantly weaves wonderfully into tracks further into the record, this sets the precedence for the amiable tone of this album.  Both Tunstall and Lynch’s controlled tantalizing vocals, swim with this record, with no evidence of floundering, intimately relaying a homely camaraderie. In fact, I have rarely heard Tunstall’s vocals at this whisper, one which tugs on the heart strings a little.

Harmonious, melodic, albeit repetitive, Great Ghosts, will creep under your skin, and linger in your head, before being introduced to the bleak, detrimental lyrics of Sleep On, which will provoke a dance, a jig, and a sing-a-long.

Guy Fawkes’ Signature, with similarities to his well-known Woozy with Cider, in that it’s spoken-word but with the wonderful calypso drums, “changing it’s whole demeanour” and also includes the spoken poetry of KT Tunstall, and dulcet backing vocals of the wonderful Pictish Trail, Johnny Lynch. Collaboratively, it would appear that this track shares deep musings, almost conversational, between neighbouring friends. This all works wonderfully, adding a temporal depth since The Year of the Leopard. 

A nonchalant lacing of Caribbean sounds throughout Yorkston’s album, it would appear deceptively upbeat despite his usual poignant, melancholic, lyrical poetry. Marvellously produced by Taylor, who we saw play earlier in the year at the Faber Social with Scritti Politti’s Gartside Green, the album includes a cover of Chris Bell’s luscious You and Your Sister, an artist hailing from Tennessee, profoundly known for his work with power pop band Big Star. Suspect initially, Yorkston’s lone vocals lend themselves wonderfully to a more stripped-down, piano-based cover.

With the additional fragile collaborative effort from Hot Chip’s front man, Alexis Taylor, the tracks emotive catalyst is exacerbated, with this layer of delicacy that adds a subtle flavouring of despondency to Yorkston’s already dejected lyrics. It works, more than you can imagine I suppose. Give this progressive, collaborative, talented record a listen; it will appeal to more than Yorkston die-hards. With a tribute to his long-lost pal, Doogie Paul, Broken Wave, and many others will affect many a ‘fellow man.’

Released on 18th August C/R/A/W/S can be purchased via this link, either CD or deluxe double LP edition:


[Rating: 3.5]

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